Campaign to change the law

Friends at the End supports the right of everyone to have a good death, including the right to die at a time and place of their choosing. Currently in Scotland there is no legislation to address either assisted dying or euthanasia.

We advocate for the legalisation of assisted dying, where a terminally ill person takes a life-ending medication themselves. We do not advocate for euthanasia, where someone else, usually a doctor, administers the life-ending medication. Exceptions to this include where the person is unable to self ingest. To find out more, see Assisted dying.

Friends at the End are currently supporting Liam McArthur MSP with the Assisted Dying (Scotland) Bill which will be introduced to the Scottish Parliament in 2022. This bill aims to legalise assisted dying for adults living in Scotland who have a terminal illness. The definition of terminal illness in Scotland includes no time limit on when death is expected and includes a range of diseases/disorders. 
We have worked closely with Mr McArthur, a steering group of cross party MSPs, and our partners Humanist Society Scotland and Dignity in Dying Scotland for many years to make sure that this bill has robust safeguards that protect vulnerable people whilst putting compassion, autonomy and dignity at its heart. 

Our assisted dying model

We believe that medically assisted dying should be available to mentally competent adults with:

  • a terminal illness or an incurable condition
  • no reasonable alternative to relieve their illness or condition
  • a voluntary, persistent request for assistance in dying.

In Scotland, terminal illness is a progressive disease where the consequence of that illness is that death can be reasonably expected – no time limit applies. It includes a wide range of different diseases and individuals may have a single disease or a number of conditions at any one time.

How we campaign for the legalisation of assisted dying

Friends at the End provides legal advice on legislation and sponsors the Cross-Party Group on End of Life Choices in the Scottish Parliament. We have helped MSPs in the Scottish Parliament bring forward two bills, and our CEO was advisor to the member in charge on the Assisted Suicide (Scotland) Bill.

We also facilitate local support and campaigning groups and work with like-minded organisations in the third, private and public sectors. We are currently working in partnership with Dignity in Dying (Scotland) and Humanist Society Scotland.

Our work sponsoring legal cases such as that of Gordon Ross, Omid T, Phil Newby and others adds weight to the pressure on legislators to change the law.

How you can support an assisted dying law in Scotland

There are a number of ways you can help with our campaign: